The Phenomenon of Dystopian Themes

  • 1525 Howe Street
  • Racine, WI

Why are dystopian themes so popular today in film and literature? Through a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read grant, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Library will explore this topic. The NEA Big Read grant to distribute the best-selling and award-winning novel Station Eleven (2014), by Emily St. John Mandel, will also bring the film La Jetée to the Golden Rondelle.

La Jetée (1962) is a ground-breaking, science fiction film about a man who attempts to travel in time after an apocalyptic event. Director Chris Marker’s French featurette is constructed almost entirely from still photos.

Both La Jetée and Station Eleven explore the relationship of past and present, memory as hope and burden, and the question of what it means to be human. Both ask what humans need to survive in a post-apocalyptic universe after the bare essentials: is it fuel, as in La Jetée? Performance, as in Station Eleven? A comic book? Or perhaps a profound memory? Once the world as we know it has been destroyed, what remains? What should be preserved? What haunts us, despite our best intentions?

Following the screening, three film scholars will discuss the phenomenon of dystopian stories and their popularity. Dr. Elaine Roth of Indiana University-South Bend, Dr. Lesley Walker and Dr. Jay McRoy of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside will talk about both La Jetée and Station Eleven and answer audience questions.

The 28-minute La Jetée has subtitles and is not rated. 
The NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Get your free copy ofStation Eleven at the Racine and Kenosha Public Libraries or UW-Parkside Library starting on January 15; visit for events and updates.

  • February 22, 2018
  • Location: 1525 Howe Street, SC Johnson Golden Rondelle Theater, WI
  • Phone: (262) 260-2154
  • Time: 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Price: free
The Phenomenon of Dystopian Themes